Guidelines & Categories

Lambda Literary Award submissions are judged principally on literary merit and content relevant to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer lives.

Because a book may be submitted to only one category, it is very important that you read through these guidelines carefully to ensure that your book is eligible for consideration and that you are submitting it to the proper Lammy category.

If, after thoroughly reading the guidelines, you still have questions about the submission process, please contact Ella Boureau, the Awards Manager, at awards@lambdaliterary.org before you submit your work.

General Eligibility
Specific Categories

Nominate Special Awards  

GENERAL ELIGIBILITY

  • Lambda Literary Award submissions are judged principally on literary merit and content relevant to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer lives.
  • Submitted books must be published between January 1 and December 31, 2018. The book must also be distributed (i.e., available in bookstores or online) in the United States during 2018. (See drama criteria for exceptions regarding plays). If your book will be published between December 1 and December 31, 2018, you must request an extension at awards@lambdaliterary.org before the December 1 deadline.
  • Lambda Literary Awards are open to all authors regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity except in the case of the special awards (e.g., Judith A. Markowitz Award for Emerging LGBTQ Writers and the Jeanne Córdova Prize for Lesbian/Queer Nonfiction, that mark specific stages of an individual LGBTQ writer’s career).
  • Books must be published in English. Translations from other languages are eligible.
  • Self-published books are eligible.
  • Books available only in e-book format are not eligible.
  • First print editions of books previously published online or in e-book format are eligible.
  • Reprints of books that were published in the United States in previous years are not eligible. This includes second (or later) editions, books that have been republished by a different publisher, and books that are modified versions of previously published works.
  • First U.S. editions of books published outside the U.S. before 2018 are eligible if the original edition was not submitted for Lammy consideration in a previous year.
  • Unpublished play manuscripts are eligible, as long as the play has received a full production of at least 8 consecutive shows in 2018. Manuscripts must be bound.

SPECIFIC CATEGORIES

A book may be submitted to only one category.

If a category receives fewer than ten (10) submissions, the category will not be active in this awards cycle. The submitted books may then be reassigned to another category, if appropriate. If the book cannot compete in another category, the submission fee will be refunded.

New this year: We are introducing a bisexual poetry category.

Lesbian and Gay Categories
Bisexual and Transgender Categories
LGBTQ Categories

Lesbian and Gay Categories

  • Lesbian: Books eligible for this category feature a prominent lesbian character or contain content of strong significance to lesbian lives.
  • Gay: Books eligible for this category feature a prominent gay male character or contain content of strong significance to gay male lives.

Gay Fiction & Lesbian Fiction

Literary fiction that does not fit more precisely into a specific genre category such as Erotica, Romance, Speculative Fiction, or Mystery.  Novels, novellas, and short story collections by a single author are eligible; anthologies are not.

Gay Memoir/Biography & Lesbian Memoir/Biography

Biographies, memoirs, autobiographies, and works of creative nonfiction by or about lesbians and gay men or with content of strong significance to gay and lesbian lives. Posthumously published works and or those with co-authors are eligible; anthologies are not.

Gay Mystery/Suspense & Lesbian Mystery/Suspense

Novels, novellas, and short story collections in which a crime, or a series of crimes, is an integral part of the story are all eligible; anthologies are not. Category includes a wide range of crime fiction subgenres including police procedurals, political/legal/medical thrillers, cozys, and hard-boiled detective stories.

Gay Poetry & Lesbian Poetry

Single volumes, collected poems, and anthologies are eligible; chapbooks are not. Updated editions of previously published works are not eligible unless at least 50% of the poetry (not the supplemental text) is new.

Gay Romance & Lesbian Romance

Novels, novellas, and short story collections by a single author that focus on a central love relationship between two or more characters are eligible; anthologies are not. Category includes a broad range of subgenres including traditional, historical, gothic, Regency, and paranormal romance.

Bisexual and Transgender Categories

These categories are non-gender specific works containing material of strong significance to members of the bisexual and transgender communities.

Please note that if these categories receive fewer than ten (10) submissions, the genre categories will be collapsed into a single category of bisexual literature or transgender literature.

Bisexual Fiction & Transgender Fiction

Novels, novellas, short story collections, and anthologies with prominent bisexual/transgender characters and/or content of strong significance to the bisexual/transgender communities. May include historical novels, graphic novels, cross-genre works of fiction, humor, and other styles of fiction.

Bisexual Nonfiction & Transgender Nonfiction

Nonfiction works with content of strong significance to members of the bisexual/transgender communities. Includes a wide range of subjects for the general or academic reader (e.g., history, memoirs, cultural studies, public policy, law, politics, community organizations, humor, spirituality, gender studies, parenting, religion, spirituality, relationships, psychology, travel).

Bisexual Poetry & Transgender Poetry

Single volumes, collected poems, and anthologies are eligible; chapbooks are not. Updated editions of previously published works are not eligible unless at least 50% of the poetry (not the supplemental text) is new.

LGBTQ Categories

These categories are non-gender-specific works containing material of strong significance to members of the LGBTQ community.

LGBTQ Anthology

Collections of fiction and/or nonfiction are eligible. If at least 10 fiction and 10 non-fiction anthologies are submitted, Lambda Literary will award both a fiction and a non-fiction Lammy in this category.

LGBTQ Children’s/Young Adult

Individual works and collections of fiction, nonfiction, picture books, and poetry whose intended audience is young readers are all eligible; anthologies are not.

LGBTQ Drama

Plays and other theatrical works and performance pieces that have been published in book or script form during 2018. Collections from a single author are eligible; anthologies featuring multiple authors are not. Unpublished play manuscripts are now eligible, as long as the play has received a full production with at least 8 consecutive shows in 2018. Manuscripts must be bound.

LGBTQ Erotica

Anthologies, novels, novellas, graphic novels, memoirs, and short story collections whose content is principally of an erotic nature.

LGBTQ Graphic Novels

Book-length works of fiction or non-fiction that use a combination of words and sequential art to convey a narrative are eligible, including novels, graphic memoirs and short story or comics collections by the same author/team. Individual comic books, periodicals, anthologies and web-only content are not eligible.

LGBTQ Nonfiction

LGBTQ-themed works for general readers as opposed to those targeted primarily to scholarly audiences (for example, LGBT/Queer/Gender Studies programs). Includes, but is not limited to, law, history, politics, spirituality, humor, parenting, relationships, psychology, travel, and photography. Anthologies (edited collections of separately-authored work) are not eligible in the LGBTQ Nonfiction Category and should be submitted to the LGBTQ Anthology.  (Please see the LGBTQ Studies Category below for comparison and contact the Lammy Awards Manager at awards@lambdaliterary.org if you have any questions about where to submit your work).

LGBTQ Speculative Fiction/Horror/Fantasy

Includes science fiction, horror, fantasy, and related genres. Novels, novellas, and short story collections are eligible; anthologies are not.

LGBTQ Studies

Scholarly work focusing on issues relating to sexual orientation and gender identity, and oriented toward academia, libraries, cultural professionals, and the more academic reader. Generally, but not exclusively, published by university presses.  Anthologies (edited collections of separately-authored work) are not eligible in the LGBTQ Studies Category and should be submitted to LGBTQ Anthology.  (Please see LGBTQ Non-Fiction Category above for comparison and contact the Lammy Awards Manager at awards@lambdaliterary.org if you have any questions about where to submit your work).